Changes to the Australian Partner Visa in 2018
In 2016, the Federal government had announced certain changes to the Partner Visa Program. As of October 2018, some of these changes have not yet been implemented due to the fact that the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016, which amends the Migration Act of 1958, is still before the Senate.
Importantly, some of the proposed changes include the introduction of a ‘sponsorship framework’ for the Sponsored Family Visa program. For instance, changes we will see coming into effect in relation to ‘sponsors’ will include the following:
The sponsorship assessment will be a separate process to the visa application for family sponsored visas;
Persons nominated as family sponsors would need to be approved by Australian authorities ‘before’ visa applications are made;
Persons approved as sponsors would be subject to legal obligations and failure to comply with those obligations could result in civil and administrative penalties
Sponsorship applications may be refused and family sponsors may be banned, especially where family violence is involved; and
Changes would facilitate the disclosure of relevant personal information between parties in the application.
What these proposed changes mean is that partner visa sponsorship applications will be subject to stricter criteria and, importantly, would need to be approved BEFORE the partner visa application is lodged.
This would unavoidably lead to delays in the lodgement of the associated partner application with significant consequences for visa holders who need to apply before the expiry of their visa.
Have the Costs increased for 2018?
Fortunately for those looking at a partner visa, the Home Affairs has only slightly increased the visa application charge. Currently, the cost is $7,160.